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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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elijah and the prophets of baal

Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 5

 

Where were we? Oh yes, the young son of the widow woman Elijah has been living with has suddenly died. This was very unfortunate, and probably quite shocking to the two of them. It almost seems absurd to our minds that God would let something like this happen after supernaturally providing for them for such a long time? Why? Why? Why? Well, before we move in, I want to restate a great comment that was made about this previously, Ben over at Another Red Letter Day had the following to say:

Sometimes we ask why things happened, rather than looking at what God can do in our circumstances. Our Lord who makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes told the disciples they were asking the wrong question in John 9. I love how the Message Bible puts it:
Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. John 9:3-4
Jesus ignores the cause and works the work of God to bring Glory to Him. Perhaps the same principal is at work here. It may not have been anything the woman did, or needed, that brought this tragedy into her life, but the circumstance created a place for God to bring glory to Himself, through a man willing to pray. Elijah was a man, made of the same stuff we’re made of, but he knew the power of prayer (according to James.)

Not only do I think that is a great statement and very true, but I think we are about so see the principle in action as we move forward. So, what happened next?

1 Kings 17:19-24

And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.


Here, we have the first recorded instance in The Bible of a person being raised from the dead. As we have covered, this event must have been quite unexpected and surprising to both Elijah and the widow woman; after all, God had been meeting all of their daily needs physically for some period of time during the drought Elijah had prophesied.

I think we can agree that this event may have simply been a way in which God could display His great glory and bring that glory and honor to Himself. There may be other reasons, and we will come to them later. What matters here is the reaction. Not the reaction of the mother of the boy, but the reaction of Elijah. It was instant and it was definitive. Elijah immediately said give me thy son, took the boy upstairs to his room, and launched into prayer.

Note some things here about Elijah’s prayer; note especially what the Prophet did NOT pray for. He did not pray for himself or his personal reputation. He could have prayed for that, as this event really made Elijah look pretty bad if one considers it. Here he is, having made promises to this woman, and now her son is dead! Note, that Elijah’s thoughts and needs never even got mentioned.

Elijah prayed for God’s reputation, and for God’s will to be accomplished in this matter. He first acknowledged that God, in His sovereignty had allowed or caused this thing to happen, and he acknowledged that God, in His sovereignty, could undo it.

Do we want revival in our own lives, in our families, and in our churches? Prayer is the starting place for all of that. And not just any prayer, but prayer which meets certain requirements.

We need to pray as a first option, not a last resort.

We need to pray not just for relief from what besets us, but for God’s will.

We need to be willing to prostrate ourselves and pray in submission, and like we actually believe that God will do it.

Let’s just add a couple of more things, then move on.

1 Kings 17:24

And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.

This is interesting. What just happened here? We have talked very briefly about the status of this woman’s heart. Was she a believer when Elijah first showed up? When did she come to a saving belief in The Lord? Well, really, it simply doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things. One can look at this and say that, whatever the case may be, this widow woman was certainly a believer in the one true God at this point in time.

What’s really happening here besides this woman being brought to a saving relationship with God? Lots, really. We all know that God had a big plan for Elijah in the near future, and God may have a big plan for each and every one of us as well.

Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Maybe that is what is happening here. We have talked some about how God was doing a work in Elijah prior to doing a work through Elijah. Warren Wiersbe had the following to say about this episode:

“The servant who won’t hide himself and minister to a few people isn’t really ready to stand on Mount Carmel and call down fire and rain from heaven. People who have proved themselves faithful with a few things in small places can be trusted by the Lord with many  things before many people in the bigger places. “

Things are racing to a finish, towards the great showdown, and towards the climatic moment in the ministry of Elijah. Elijah is almost fully trained and ready to perform his greatest task, and will be seen doing that shortly.

What about us? Are we focused on God’s will in the tough times, or are we just focused on relief for ourselves? Are we willing to do the small things God asks us to do? What if there is never a big thing? Are we willing to plod along, doing the small things if that is God’s will for us?

Things are about to change again for Elijah

1 Kings 18:1,2

And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.


Many days. Three years to be precise! For approaching three long years, Elijah had been faithfully hiding himself away doing what the Lord desired him to be doing, Now, it is time for action! We won’t tarry long today, as the real meat of this part of the story begins later on. There are some things to ponder, though as we launch into our next section.

We have to be willing to simply go. We have to be willing to take the tough stands even when they may not be popular and may even land us in hot water.

We have to be teachable and mold-able. We may not be ready for the ultimate mission that God has in store for us. He will teach us, but often in a way we don’t understand or even agree with.

We have to learn God will provide for us and protect us. If He gives us the job, He will take care of providing what we need to accomplish.

We have to learn that often, it simply is not about us, but God’s honor and glory. The situation may seem to us the wrong way to go, but God’s got this, so to speak.

Finally, we have to be ready to go again. We cannot allow the fact that God seems to be going slow to lull us into a place where we won’t hear Him say, “Go!” when it is actually time to go.

Next time: Elijah springs in to action!

Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 5

Elijah

Where were we? Oh yes, the young son of the widow woman Elijah has been living with has suddenly died. This was very unfortunate, and probably quite shocking to the two of them. It almost seems absurd to our minds that God would let something like this happen after supernaturally providing for them for such a long time? Why? Why? Why? Well, before we move in, I want to restate a great comment that was made about this previously, Ben over at Another Red Letter Day had the following to say:

Sometimes we ask why things happened, rather than looking at what God can do in our circumstances. Our Lord who makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes told the disciples they were asking the wrong question in John 9. I love how the Message Bible puts it:
Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. John 9:3-4
Jesus ignores the cause and works the work of God to bring Glory to Him. Perhaps the same principal is at work here. It may not have been anything the woman did, or needed, that brought this tragedy into her life, but the circumstance created a place for God to bring glory to Himself, through a man willing to pray. Elijah was a man, made of the same stuff we’re made of, but he knew the power of prayer (according to James.)

Not only do I think that is a great statement and very true, but I think we are about so see the principle in action as we move forward. So, what happened next?

1 Kings 17:19-24

And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.


Here, we have the first recorded instance in The Bible of a person being raised from the dead. As we have covered, this event must have been quite unexpected and surprising to both Elijah and the widow woman; after all, God had been meeting all of their daily needs physically for some period of time during the drought Elijah had prophesied.

I think we can agree that this event may have simply been a way in which God could display His great glory and bring that glory and honor to Himself. There may be other reasons, and we will come to them later. What matters here is the reaction. Not the reaction of the mother of the boy, but the reaction of Elijah. It was instant and it was definitive. Elijah immediately said give me thy son, took the boy upstairs to his room, and launched into prayer.

Note some things here about Elijah’s prayer; note especially what the Prophet did NOT pray for. He did not pray for himself or his personal reputation. He could have prayed for that, as this event really made Elijah look pretty bad if one considers it. Here he is, having made promises to this woman, and now her son is dead! Note, that Elijah’s thoughts and needs never even got mentioned.

Elijah prayed for God’s reputation, and for God’s will to be accomplished in this matter. He first acknowledged that God, in His sovereignty had allowed or caused this thing to happen, and he acknowledged that God, in His sovereignty, could undo it.

Do we want revival in our own lives, in our families, and in our churches? Prayer is the starting place for all of that. And not just any prayer, but prayer which meets certain requirements.

We need to pray as a first option, not a last resort.

We need to pray not just for relief from what besets us, but for God’s will.

We need to be willing to prostrate ourselves and pray in submission, and like we actually believe that God will do it.

Let’s just add a couple of more things, then move on.

1 Kings 17:24

And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.

This is interesting. What just happened here? We have talked very briefly about the status of this woman’s heart. Was she a believer when Elijah first showed up? When did she come to a saving belief in The Lord? Well, really, it simply doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things. One can look at this and say that, whatever the case may be, this widow woman was certainly a believer in the one true God at this point in time.

What’s really happening here besides this woman being brought to a saving relationship with God? Lots, really. We all know that God had a big plan for Elijah in the near future, and God may have a big plan for each and every one of us as well.

Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Maybe that is what is happening here. We have talked some about how God was doing a work in Elijah prior to doing a work through Elijah. Warren Wiersbe had the following to say about this episode:

“The servant who won’t hide himself and minister to a few people isn’t really ready to stand on Mount Carmel and call down fire and rain from heaven. People who have proved themselves faithful with a few things in small places can be trusted by the Lord with many  things before many people in the bigger places. “

Things are racing to a finish, towards the great showdown, and towards the climatic moment in the ministry of Elijah. Elijah is almost fully trained and ready to perform his greatest task, and will be seen doing that shortly.

What about us? Are we focused on God’s will in the tough times, or are we just focused on relief for ourselves? Are we willing to do the small things God asks us to do? What if there is never a big thing? Are we willing to plod along, doing the small things if that is God’s will for us?

Things are about to change again for Elijah

1 Kings 18:1,2

And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.


Many days. Three years to be precise! For approaching three long years, Elijah had been faithfully hiding himself away doing what the Lord desired him to be doing, Now, it is time for action! We won’t tarry long today, as the real meat of this part of the story begins later on. There are some things to ponder, though as we launch into our next section.

We have to be willing to simply go. We have to be willing to take the tough stands even when they may not be popular and may even land us in hot water.

We have to be teachable and mold-able. We may not be ready for the ultimate mission that God has in store for us. He will teach us, but often in a way we don’t understand or even agree with.

We have to learn God will provide for us and protect us. If He gives us the job, He will take care of providing what we need to accomplish.

We have to learn that often, it simply is not about us, but God’s honor and glory. The situation may seem to us the wrong way to go, but God’s got this, so to speak.

Finally, we have to be ready to go again. We cannot allow the fact that God seems to be going slow to lull us into a place where we won’t hear Him say, “Go!” when it is actually time to go.

Next time: Elijah springs in to action!

The Elijah Factor Or How 1 Man Made a Difference-The End is Near For False Prophets

1 Kings 18:30-40

And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired  And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.


After hours of watching the 450 prophets of Baal dance and cut themselves, Elijah finally took his turn. This would have been around three in the afternoon, about the time of the evening sacrifice as described in verse 36. So, Elijah calls the people of Israel to come near as he prepares to show them the awesome power of God.

Apparently, both the false prophets and Elijah were using an altar previously built for the worship of God, because we see a reference to the altar of the LORD that was broken down. It’s some what unclear just where the altar came from. It may even have been one in use by men and women worshiping God in private during the evil reign of Ahab and Jezebel. Note some things here; Elijah did not just immediately use that altar, as is. He repaired it. He made God’s House ready for the worship of God. What a great representation of how we should prepare ourselves, and God’s House for the proper worship of him. Elijah collected 12 stones to repair and build the altar he would use for his sacrifice, and our text tells us these represented the 12 tribes of Israel. In God’s mind, even though the 12 tribes were divided asunder in the Divided Kingdom of the day, they were still the people and the nation He had made His covenant with.

As earlier Elijah had stacked the deck in favor of the false prophets, he now stacked the deck against the True God. Three times Elijah ordered the altar and the sacrifice to be saturated with barrels of water. So much water was applied that it ran off of the altar into a trench which had been dug around it! Basically, this altar and the sacrifice were literally sitting almost in pool of water. It must have been obvious to all gathered that no human was going to be able to start a fire there and consume that offering. Elijah had spent three long years learning just who God was, and what He was capable of doing; now the nation of Israel and its idolatrous people were about to learn the same lesson.

Elijah knew what was about to happen, nonetheless he prayed this prayer:

LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again

There were many messages in this very simple prayer.

Elijah prayed that this thing be done for the honor and glory of God. Those are the prayers God responds to. Even our Jesus told us that :

John 14:3 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Not only would God be known as the God of Israel, but Elijah would be know as the man speaking for him. As with all prophets, the signs were merely and indication of for just whom they were speaking.

Finally, this prayer was a wonderful example of God’s grace and forgiveness, even in the face of such idolatry and rebellion by His people. God was drawing His people back to Him, and if they responded, He would welcome them back with open arms. Since we have been noting during this study the similarities between that day and this day, we should note that one as well. Even today, God is drawing His people back to Him, and will welcome them with open arms if we only turn our hearts back again.

What happened next? Well, of course God proved he was, in fact, God. Immediately upon the conclusion of Elijah’s prayer, fire descended from Heaven and consumed both the sacrifice and the altar. Never again would this place be used for the worship of any false god.

Most likely the prophets of Baal were shocked beyond degree at this turn of events, after all they had danced and called to their god for hours! Something else important happens here when we note the differing reactions of the people assembled on mount Carmel.

The prophets of Baal continued their rebellion, not with words and prayers to false gods, but by fleeing the scene.

The people of Israel turned to God in repentance, acknowledged Him, and worshiped Him

The slaying of the prophets of Baal at Elijah’s order may seem rough and harsh, but was it really? They saw the same God in action that the Israelites saw, yet they continued in their rebellion. They had been warned of their rebellion, as the Law of Moses was clear what was to be done to false prophets; they were to be killed. God had given them every chance to turn to HIm in submission just as God’s people did when they proclaimed, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God

God has not changed in respect to how He will deal with us. We have discussed the many similarities between then and now during the course of this study, and they continue. God warned the people then, and He warns the people today. God showed Himself then, and He shows Himself today. Some chose to repent and come to God then, and some do now. God accepted the ones who repented then, and He still does; He offered forgiveness then, and He offers it now.

Sadly, due to some rejecting God’s offer of forgiveness, some faced judgment then, and some face it today.  It doesn’t need to be that way, as the offer of forgiveness remains open until one’s final breath.

 

Daily Devotion-September 2, 2015-The Elijah Factor Or How 1 Man Made a Difference-The Prophet Speaks To the Nation

1 Kings 18:20,21

So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.


Read all of 1 Kings Chapter 18 here

Well, there every body was, assembled on mount Carmel: Elijah, Ahab, the prophets of Baal, and the people of Israel. Elijah had a message for all of them, but first and foremost, he had a message for the people of Israel who had turned their backs on God and fallen into idolatry.

Elijah presented the people with a very clear choice and question. Today, will you serve God, or will you serve Baal? He said they were halt between two opinions; they were limping between loyalty to the one True God and the idols they were serving, not committing fully to either one. Elijah presented them a clear choice: serve God, or serve Baal.

What was the answer of the people? Complete silence; the people answered him not a word. Elijah asked a simple question, and not a person said a word in return. Why was this so? Maybe they were guilty; here we see a case of guilt shutting people up:

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Maybe they just didn’t know which way they planned to turn,  Perhaps they literally awaited the results of this contest to see which god was truly the more powerful. It really doesn’t matter why they didn’t speak, as the end result was the same.

They were limping back and forth between serving the God of Israel and the various gods of the day, particularly Baal. They wanted it both ways. They may have called themselves believers and children of  God in name, but had allegiance to neither totally. Later in God’s Word, James would cover this same issue when he told us:

James:1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

We have been considering revival in our land as we work our way through the story of Elijah, and we have made many comparisons between the land in that day our our land today; let us make some more. There we had a nation wallowing in and accepting sin; we have that today in our country. There we had an almost wholesale rejection of the things and people of God; we have that today in our country. There we had a country being led astray by ungodly leaders and examples; we have that today in our country.

Finally, we see in Israel people who did not want to choose; they wanted it both ways. Do we see that today? How many people in our nation today, if asked, would refer to themselves as Christian? Even today, the majority would identify themselves exactly as such. Yet, how many of these if OTHER people were asked, would be identified as Christians? Do we identify ourselves as Christian or are we KNOWN as Christian? Are we limping back and forth between worshiping Jesus Christ and our idols? Wait! You say, I don’t worship idols? Are we sure?

Of course most of us don’t head up on a mountain to worship Baal, or down the the groves to worship Asherah; our idols are different today. Nonetheless, they are there. What are our idols today? Well, if we classify an idol as anything we place in a place of higher importance in our lives than Jesus Christ, they are many! Money, jobs, our sinful lifestyles, sports, and our “stuff” are all things we place higher on our priority list than God. We, also, limp back and forth, thinking we can call ourselves Christian while keeping our toes in the pool of the world. We think we can call ourselves Christian, yet find ways to support and accommodate things clearly counter and in conflict with God’s Word: sexual sin of all varieties, the watering down of God’s Word to make it appealing, the teaching that Faith exists to improve our lives and make us wealthy and healthy; these are all things we limp back and forth between.

Do we want our nation to become revived? Then, we have to ask ourselves the same question that Elijah asked the children of Israel. Who will we serve today: The Lord or Baal?

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